Tracking and mean structure of easterly waves over the Intra-Americas Sea

Yolande Serra, George N. Kiladis, Kevin I. Hodges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Easterly waves (EWs) are prominent features of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ), found in both the Atlantic and Pacific during the Northern Hemisphere summer and fall, where they commonly serve as precursors to hurricanes over both basins. A large proportion of Atlantic EWs are known to form over Africa, but the origin of EWs over the Caribbean and east Pacific in particular has not been established in detail. In this study reanalyses are used to examine the coherence of the large-scale wave signatures and to obtain track statistics and energy conversion terms for EWs across this region. Regression analysis demonstrates that some EW kinematic structures readily propagate between the Atlantic and east Pacific, with the highest correlations observed across Costa Rica and Panama. Track statistics are consistent with this analysis and suggest that some individual waves are maintained as they pass from the Atlantic into the east Pacific, whereas others are generated locally in the Caribbean and east Pacific. Vortex anomalies associated with the waves are observed on the leeward side of the Sierra Madre, propagating northwestward along the coast, consistent with previous modeling studies of the interactions between zonal flow and EWs with model topography similar to the Sierra Madre. An energetics analysis additionally indicates that the Caribbean low-level jet and its extension into the east Pacific-known as the Papagayo jet-are a source of energy for EWs in the region. Two case studies support these statistics, as well as demonstrate the modulation of EW track and storm development location by the MJO.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4823-4840
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume23
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2010

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easterly wave
zonal flow
sea
Americas
intertropical convergence zone
hurricane
vortex
Northern Hemisphere
regression analysis
energetics
kinematics
topography
anomaly
coast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

Cite this

Tracking and mean structure of easterly waves over the Intra-Americas Sea. / Serra, Yolande; Kiladis, George N.; Hodges, Kevin I.

In: Journal of Climate, Vol. 23, No. 18, 09.2010, p. 4823-4840.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Serra, Yolande ; Kiladis, George N. ; Hodges, Kevin I. / Tracking and mean structure of easterly waves over the Intra-Americas Sea. In: Journal of Climate. 2010 ; Vol. 23, No. 18. pp. 4823-4840.
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